10 Ways to Look Better in Photos
By Jennae Geren, Photographer, Entrepreneur and Owner/Operator at Geren Imaging
In a world of constant recording, snapping, and posting, you can’t escape the flood of images with you in them. Some good, some bad. Some really, really bad. The good news is you can avoid those frumpy photos. Below is a guide so you know what to do every time before someone whips out their camera so you can look hot on the spot.
First off, whatever camera someone is shooting you with is automatically going to make you look better or worse. If it’s a Digital SLR you’ll look better than a basic point and shoot camera and much better than a camera phone. DSLRs produce clearer, sharper portraits with a lot of megapixels and come with telephoto and macro lenses specifically for portraits. DSLRs can control the lighting for accurate, flattering light rather than yellowy, beige or overly blue light casts. You’ll also get shallow depth of field – more soft background blur surrounding you and control of precise, manual focus on you. (Phones and many point-and-shoots are autofocus). The list goes on and on. Just know you’ll instantly look more attractive when a DSLR is whipped out rather than an iPhone.
Tighten your jawline
1. Elongate your neck while pulling your shoulders down and back and tilt your chin slightly down. Men can get away with a slight backwards head tilt as attractive but everyone benefits from a tighter jawline in photos through correct posture from the shoulders up. Try to pull your head slightly straight out towards the camera (while still keeping your chin slightly down) to tighten the jawline even more.
Be photographed from above
2. Ask the photographer to shoot from above. Photos above eye level are always flattering and also eradicates a double chin.
Relax your mouth and smile with your eyes
3. Most people automatically stiff up in front of the camera. This tension conveys inauthenticity to the viewer and looks terribly flat. I always have a relaxed conversation with people first to warm them up and get them laughing. I have them close their eyes and envision themselves in their favorite place with their favorite people. When they open their eyes, I take the photo. Most people don’t do this, so just think: relax your mouth to relax your eyes and think of a thought that brings you peace and comfort. Relaxing your mouth reminds the rest of your face to relax as well and by directing your thoughts to something other than the camera, your eyes naturally have an authentic smiling sparkle. Remember, real smiles come from the eyes.
Slim your body
4. One option is to shift or lean your body slightly to one side. You’ll look more relaxed and lean when angling your body rather than facing the camera directly. An easy pose to emulate is the three-quarter angle with one leg in front of you and the other hand on your waist, creating a long diagonal line. For more close-ups, position your body slightly away from the lens and turn just your face towards the lens while popping your shoulder closest to the lens down a little (so one shoulder is up and the other is down). This also tightens the jawline and it looks so much more interesting than a flat, straight-on shot. However, a straight-on camera shot can work depending on what you’re trying to convey. Straight-on shots for women with their hands on their waist (higher than normal) - not their hips, makes them appear narrower. If you do this pose, relax your shoulders and remember to stick your elbows back.
Open your eyes at the right time
5. To avoid the blinking eye-look in photos, force yourself to blink seconds before the photo is taken and then relax, and slowly open your eyes before the camera clicks.
Shift away from unnatural light
6. When indoors, look up. If there’s overhead lighting directly above you, shift to another spot where there isn’t – ideally outdoors or a window if you can. (Side-lighting from windows is always flattering.) Otherwise, you’ll end up with an overhead shadowy, distroted and sometimes fatter-looking face.
Put your tongue behind your teeth when smiling
7. Overly wide grins can look fake, scary and squinty. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This creates more definition between your neck and chin and you’ll appear more relaxed.
Stand in front of a white wall
8. A white background will brighten the face and also help the camera’s automatic settings find the most flattering color balance so you don’t end up looking too yellow or pink.
Look toward a light
9. By gazing at a light prior to the camera snapping, your pupils will shrink and you’ll end up with clear, colored-eyes. Red eyes on film usually happen in dim lighting with a flash. If it’s possible, avoid the flash to avoid red-eye.
10. The most important out of all of the above! If you remember anything, remember this. If you can, close your eyes, take a deep breath and center yourself. If possible, add a few breaths and imagine yourself in your favorite, peaceful place. Open your eyes before just the shutter clicks and you’ll end up with natural, relaxed photos. (If you’re in a group photo, just take a deep breath, otherwise everyone else will be perked up grinning and you’ll be off in Zen-land).
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